111: Growing Up Gamer

Growing Up Gamer

"Dad played Zaxxon, Donkey Kong and Centipede; I evolved into obscure text-parser adventure games. We put our heads together on titles of the early 16-bit console era; I'd call him at work (often to his consternation) to tell him when I'd cleared a new level in Keith Courage in Alpha Zones or Legendary Axe. My mother never embraced technology - on the contrary. She called me downstairs once in hysterics to "fix" the computer; I complied, moving the mouse to disengage the screen saver."

Leigh Alexander describes her childhood, Growing Up Gamer.

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Soo... Have they tried the Wii or the DS?

(nice article by the way)

I love you. And I love the Escapist. I've been reading since volume 1 and I just can't help but smile when I read articles by people who have a life long passion for games and are able to share that history. Keep up the good work and salute to you my friend.

great article, you made me going back of more than 20 years when I was playing too with Zaxxon, the Infocom adventure and trying to pass through the age control questions in the first "Leisure Suit Larry" (as non American most among those questions were completely nonsense to me!).
Interesting comment also about the "ESRB-free" childhood.... I quoted you on my blog ;)

All best!
Roberto

Over the last couple of years I've read dozens (feels like hundreds) of articles talking about the relationship between casual and "hardcore" games and where the future of gaming lies. And yet it's this article, mostly about a completely different topic, which I feel achieves the most insight into the issue. I'm referring, of course, to the section concerning why your sister doesn't play anymore.

I shall be linking people to this one for years to come, I suspect.

That's such a good point made by your sister. I guess the pick-up and play was what occurred when games were nearly solely based on achieving high-scores or the ability to beat a game in one sitting. Sometimes I feel things like Dead Rising are testament to that sort of pick-up and play mentality - then you have to deal with the save system and wonder why when you die you have to load it up again. Really, I just want to kill zombies for a while and not worry bout dying.

I'm 21 now and an avid gamer. My first game was an old version of snake on a green / black screen computer. Then we had a Mac and Power Mac and I resolved to console game with the NES and Master System thanks to friends with those consoles. Funnily enough, I used to thrive on the freeware games available on Mac magazines. They kept me alive when my allowance was $5 a week - enough to hire three games on the weekend (between sports and friends).

However, I managed to find an old 286 and hassled dad to buy it for me, then it was loaded with a mates copy of nearly every Sierra text-based game in existence, including the Leisure Suit Larry series.

Ahh, you make me reminisce! Funny enough, my little brother is 16 now and the difference in our 5 years is extraordinary. He won't play a boss battle for more than 3 deaths before giving up ... back in adventure gaming you could spend days attempting the same puzzle till you discovered the answer from left-field. In many ways, I feel proud to have grown up appreciating the older games and I think skipping this era has led to the Halo-esque fan-boy frenzies you find everywhere now where people are so closed minded they're unable to appreciate the small things, small games or new ideas.

Brilliant article dude, well written and wonderful points.

My sister, Jessie, was born, and I made it clear to her that she was going to be my new co-pilot, like it or not. Fortunately, I didn't have to push her very hard; she idolized everything I did, as little sisters often do, and I often found her holding the controller and mashing buttons, gleefully watching the pre-start demo play, a hold-over from the arcades, that was still popular at the time. "I used to think I was actually playing," she says.

This is the best part of the article. I don't even have a little sister but I thought it was so sweet.

You can find games that play a lot like the games she grew up on. The problem is that today you have to be really into gaming to separate them from the rest. Buy her a DS for her next bday/holiday. If she doesn't know what to play then help her to find the games she likes. The GBA/DS library has tons of games that are just like old SNES games. I'd be wary though about pushing "non-game" games on her since it would be missing the point.

This article definitely captured the reasons why I rarely play games any more. Today's games require a level of commitment that most people with spouses and children can't give. For that matter, my kids don't have time for games like that. With the amount of studying and reading that my kids have to do, they can't devote hours at a time to a game. My 10-year-old daughter's favorite type of games are the hidden-object category of casual games. She can jump on after her homework is done, play for her allotted 30 minutes, and save quickly.

very nice piece. i liked the bit at the end where it offers hope that maybe your dad and sister aren't really over gaming and that given the right one, they'll jump right back in.

to be honest i only came on hear for videos and only partcipate in the forums when im bored and usally by the time im done ive posted on 30 different things

and ive read problay 5 articles maybe less however i loved that and i thought that it was maybe the best article i have read on hear you should be proud and im am going to try to keep up with you from now on

keep up the good work

p.s. is that a picture of you up at the top of the article? if so you are very beautiful

 

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